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The Soroptimist Senior Center operation is dependent on donations since the Neat Repeat closed recently

PHOTO COURTESY OF MELODY KENDALL - When Facebook was faced with closing its first kitchen, they chose to donate the food to the Meals of Wheels program through the Soroptimist Senior Center.

The Soroptimist Senior Center has been the recipient of a number of donations and grants recently, to help supplement their Meals on Wheels program.

Most recently, Susie Pape pledged $5,000 as a match for funds donated to the Soroptimist Senior Center Meals on Wheels Program. Approximately 71% of the seniors served in the program in Crook County are over 75 years of age. Of that total, 59% are female and 41% are male. They don't have in-home support, where someone can shop or cook for them. The service is not based on income.

There are 30 drivers who cover a five-mile radius in Crook County, five days per week. With the Neat Repeat closing, the revenue stream to support this program has depended on donations from the community.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford and his wife, Susan, began the process with a $500 donation. Currently, as of April 24, $4,345 has been raised by Crawford in a fund account on Facebook. In addition, $550 in checks came directly to the Meals on Wheels program and were earmarked for the matching pledge from Pape.

Melody Kendall, coordinator and bookkeeper for Prineville Senior Center, also received word from Facebook Chef Eric Borini that they were closing one of the kitchens on their Prineville Facebook campus. Facebook made the decision to donate the food that was left to the Meals on Wheels program for the seniors who are served by that program. She said that the food donated included cases of eggs, flour, milk, yogurt and a variety of other staples.

"There was also lots of meat, including turkey breast, beef roast, pastrami, and lots of rolls and buns," noted Kendall. "Everything that he brought was something that we could use. We looked through it because we didn't want to take anything we couldn't use."

She added that their cooks were getting ready to do the menu for May, and they are making the menu around the food donated.

"They are amazing," Kendall said of the cooks for the Meals on Wheels program. "We publish a menu every month, and a lot of time when someone throughout the month gives food like this that was donated, we need to change the menu so we can use up what we have got. So, we make sure we put on there, 'it is subject to change."'

She added that sending out a hot, nutritious meal to seniors is most important, and modifying menus helps them avoid any waste.

"The timing was good, because they can incorporate a lot of this into the new menu, they are doing for me."

Kendall said that in addition to the checks they have received for the Pape match, she has received quite a few donations recently. She received a donation from a ranch in Paulina for 75 pounds of hamburger. The 1017 Project from Shilo Church in Powell Butte has committed to a full beef first part of May. McDonalds of Prineville also donated several boxes of hamburger patties to the program recently.

"I go to the posts office about every other day, and there is usually a stack of checks in there that people have been donating, and they have been so wonderful for our program — and it is so needed right now, because with the Neat Repeat closed, that's basically our income," she said.

In addition to the Meals on Wheels program, there is still construction happening at the senior center, as well as the parking lot. Kendall indicated that the construction for the grant for the senior center will be completed by Sept. 1, 2020.

"Work is proceeding very well, and we don't know of an opening date at this point," she noted. "All factors will be put into consideration."

She added the Neat Repeat will open as soon as the board and staff consider it safe to be open.

Kendall has also applied for several grants, including a successful grant through the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce for $2,500.

"We just want to stress how much we appreciate all the donations and all the people who have offered to volunteer, especially Seth Crawford and Mrs. Pape," stressed Kendall. "Vicky Iverson has jumped in and she is working behind the scenes on our behalf."

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To send a donation:

Soroptimist Senior Center

In care of Melody Kendall

PO Box 553, Prineville OR 97754

Phone: 541-447-6844


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